Feeling out of breath lately? This is probably why


Credit: Ventura County Star

High air quality index in Ventura County on Sept. 14, 2020.

Malia Sanchez, Reporter

Beginning September 2020, fires all across the west coast have catalyzed poor air quality in Ventura County. It has been affecting student athletes’ abilities to practice organized sports, as well as perform individual training.

Many athletes who have already been unable to practice with their teams due to COVID-19 have been doing independent training outdoors. If a student’s club team or other non-high school organization has been allowed to practice together, it is usually required that they do so outside. The poor air quality has made it difficult for athletes to practice out in the open air, and the new COVID-19 regulations have made it impermissible to practice indoors. As a result, athletes are in a tight spot when it comes to finding creative ways to train.

Since Sept. 11, the air quality index in certain parts of Ventura County has been over 70. An air quality index over 50 can have a negative effect on people’s breathing when exercising outdoors. From Sept. 11 to Sept. 15, the air quality index rose to 153.

Many athletes have modified their workouts to better suit these new conditions. Club soccer goalkeeper and Buena High School student Delaney Timmons ‘24 says, “I did feel the difference when I went for a run. My throat hurt a little and it was harder to breathe.” However, she was able to modify her workout.  Timmons’ team had an at-home zoom workout in order to stay indoors. For Foothill Tech cross country runner Caitlyn O’Neil ‘23, the air quality has been affecting her independent workouts. She said she was “mostly doing core [exercises] in the house” in order to avoid the bad air quality. 

These conditions have been an obstacle for athletes during an already difficult time, but many people have been able to adapt to the change. Determined athletes have been able to find a way to practice the sports they love in the face of adversity.

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